Andrew McCutchen leaves Pirates for “personal matter”

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Andrew McCutchen missed last night’s game after leaving the Pirates to attend to what the team is calling a “personal matter.”

No other details have been offered, with manager Clint Hurdle saying only that McCutchen “went home today to deal with a personal matter” and “we’re respecting his privacy.”

Left fielder Jose Tabata shifted to center field in McCutchen’s absence and Matt Diaz started in left field, going 2-for-4 as the Pirates were shut out by Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins.

There’s no indication when he might return to the lineup, but the Pirates are seemingly expecting to be without McCutchen for multiple games.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.